Our Mission: Welcoming God’s people;
faithful to His Word
January 2009
Mission Possible
Pilgrim’s Progress
As we leave 2008 and enter 2009 we
enter the Season of Epiphany. Epiphany begins with the visit of the Magi
to the Christ Child at Bethlehem and
concludes with Jesus’ transfiguration.
tiles—with the light of God’s love.
Epiphany is all about mission: telling
people, showing people, helping people experience the good news about
the birth of the world’s Savior, Jesus.
Epiphany is about mission from beginning to end, which will be our emphasis throughout the Epiphany Season. Our goal will be to help us fulfill
the mission which God has given us
here at Pilgrim Lutheran.
The Baptism of Jesus follows on
January 11th. Through Mark 1:4-11 we
learn that the Christian’s “secret
weapon” is much more than “hocuspocus.” It is the Holy Spirit. He empowers us to come to faith and, ultimately, to live out that faith as we
help share it with others.
This year we’ll celebrate Epiphany on
January 4th. We’ll use this Sunday to
study and learn from the Epiphany
(Matthew 2:1-12). Jesus came to
enlighten everyone—including Gen-
On Epiphany 2, January 18th, we’ll
look at one of the lesser-known apostles: Philip. What did he do (John 1:43(Continued on page 2)
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
(Continued from page 1)
51)? He came and saw Jesus. Then he
went and told others. May we be led
to do the same!
On Epiphany 3, January 25th, we’ll go
fishing with the apostles Jesus called
at the Sea of Galilee (Mark 1:14-20).
Jesus’ called them to stop being fishermen in the traditional sense of the
word and to become “fishers of men”
– people who help others find their
place in God’s story.
We’ll continue our mission theme
into February. On the 1st we’ll see that
“There’s Something About Jesus” (Mark 1:2-28). He drew people
to Himself and to God—and calls us
to do the same. On the 8th we’ll look
at “Mirror, Mirror on the
Wall” (Mark 1:2939). We all have
“talking mirrors” which reflect distorted
images. Jesus
can heal those
Pilgrim’s Progress / Volume 64, No. 1 / January 2009
Epiphany: Mission Possible........................................................ page 1
Feature Article: O Come, Little Children .................................. page 3
Information: About the Epiphany of the Lord.......................... page 4
Pastor’s Page: A Baby Changes Everything............................... page 5
Pilgrim News: A Report on Pilgrim’s Christmas Decorating ... page 6
Pilgrim People: In Memory of Walter Durr .............................. page 8
Pilgrim People: In Memory of Madeline DeLoach Franklin .... page 8
Service Opportunity: Like to Travel? ........................................ page 9
What’s Going On: Did you know that… .................................. page 10
Pilgrim People: January Birthdays & Anniversaries ............. page 10
Descriptions: Pilgrim People .................................................... page 11
Photos: Pilgrim People ........................................................... pages 12
who are damaged by these distortions—and then encourage us to show
others Jesus so they, too, can be restored by Him!
On the 15th we’ll see that we’re
“Cleansed to be Close to God” (Mark
1:40-45). Just as God cleanses us that
we might have a relationship with
Him, He calls us to help show others
how they, too, might be cleansed.
Epiphany concludes with The Transfiguration of Our Lord on February
22nd. We’ll conclude with where we
started: Epiphany is about mission.
Church is about mission. We need to
be about the mission.
Epiphany is “Mission Possible” not
because of us, but because of He
whom is at the very heart and center
of Epiphany: Jesus. He who came as a
Child at Christmas, was worshipped
by Magi on Epiphany, and then began
His ministry of drawing people into a
relationship with God calls us into
mission with Him. T
January 2009, Vol. 64, No. 1.
Published by Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Bethesda,
MD. Copyright © 2009 by Pilgrim Lutheran Church.
All rights reserved.
STAFF: Sherry Schiebel, PJKreft
PILGRIM LUTHERAN CHURCH / 5500 Massachusetts
Ave. / Bethesda, MD 20816-1933 / Phone 301-2292800 / FAX 301-320-7085 /
[email protected] / www.pilgrimbethesda.org
All submissions for the Pilgrim’s Progress newsletter are
due on the 15th of the month prior to its publication. This
allows us to publish the newsletter by the last Sunday of the
month. Although we prefer them in an electronic format
(Word file or email, if possible) we do accept printed
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
O Come, Little Children
“O come little children, O come one
and all.
To Bethlehem haste, to the manger so
Why am I using this hymn and why
now? It is addressed to children and
talks about Christmas. Was not
Christmas last month?
The official liturgical Christmas season only starts with Christmas Eve
when God gave us the greatest gift
ever given. The four weeks prior to
Christmas Eve is Advent—a time of
preparation for Christmas—a time to
open our hearts and homes for Christ
to come in. Almost two weeks after
Christmas Eve is Epiphany. This is
when we celebrate the coming of the
magi, wise men, or kings to Bethlehem to witness the newborn Savior of
the world.
Feature Article
Nellie K. Plitt
All anybody
people is
what is
told us in
the Bible. They
saw a
came from the east and presented
gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Tradition has made up all the rest:
names, how many, origin, etc.
Why is the hymn directed to children?
I am sure it was not intended only for
little children; after all, we are all children of God. We are told we should
accept God’s teaching and gifts as little children.
The hymn was written by Christoph
von Schmid (1768-1855), a teacher,
priest, and writer of children’s books.
His books taught Christian values to
children so were written simply as
was the hymn which was originally
entitled Ihr Kinderlein kommet. The
tune was supplied by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (1747-1800). Originally from Lüneberg, he studied organ, taught music to Polish princess
(Continued on page 4)
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
(Continued from page 3)
Smolensky, wrote
toured all
and became Kapelmeister to the King
of Denmark.
Actually we can celebrate Christmas
all year long—not just in December.
The priceless gift given at Christmas
About the Epiphany of
the Lord
is for all of us for all time. How many
gifts you received came at such a high
cost to someone else, can be used for
your entire life, and will last into eternity?
So let us all, children of every age, go
to Bethlehem’s manger.
Let’s join the shepherds, wise men
and angels “…and see this thing that
has happened, which the Lord has
told us about.” (Luke 2:15)
“God’s Son for a gift has been sent
you this night
To be your Redeemer, your Joy and
Delight.” T
God’s appearance in the person of the
Baby Jesus.
The word epiphany comes from the
Greek word
epiphaneia, which
means appearance
or manifestation.
It is an important
word for liturgical
In the early church, January 6th was a
day for baptism. The central significance of Epiphany is that Christ came
as the Light of the World, not just for
the Jews but for Gentiles as well.
Christ’s light is for all.
Epiphany is observed each year
on January 6th. It
refers to the wise
men (or Magi),
who were the first
Gentiles to see the
manifestation of
In France, to celebrate Epiphany,
children from Christian homes often
put oats in their shoes on the evening
before January 6th. The oats are for
the camels of the “Wise Men.” When
they awake the next morning, the
children hope to find the oats gone
and gifts left in their shoes. T
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
A Baby Changes
Sometimes a song sticks in your
mind. This one stuck in my heart.
I first heard it on Christmas Day evening. I was tired after a long couple of
days so I plopped down in the chair
and turned on the TV. There wasn’t
much on so I kept flipping through
the channels until I came to a Christmas concert on PBS. It was by Faith
Hill. That’s when I heard it.
Lyrics from A
Baby Changes
composed by
Tim Nichols,
Craig Wiseman,
And K.K. Wiseman. © 2008
Bug Music;
Warner-Tamerland Publishing
Corp. All rights
reserved. Used
by permission.
CCLI license #
A Baby Changes Everything was the
song. Its lyrics struck a chord in my
heart. I downloaded off iTunes; I figured I could afford the 99 cents for
the song.
The plans for January and February
Sunday’s were “fueled” by A Baby
Changes Everything. This newsletter
was written listening to A Baby
Changes Everything. The Epiphany
theme came to be those same words.
Pastor’s Page
“Teenage girl, much too young / Unprepared for what's to come / A baby
changes everything. Not a ring on
her hand / All her dreams and all her
plans / A baby changes everything /
A baby changes everything.”
There are thoughts about Joseph as
well: “The man she loves she's never
touched / How will she keep his
And near the end of the song we hear
that Christmas gospel as the music
builds to its climax: “Shepherds all
gather 'round / Up above the star
shines down / A baby changes everything. Choir of angels sing / Glory to
the newborn King / A baby changes
everything / A baby changes everything / Everything, everything, everything. Hallelujah, Hallelujah /
Hallelujah, Hallelujah.”
The real meat’s right here at the end.
These words capture what we need to
capture as Lutheran Christians, what
we need to be able to express to our
family, neighbors, friends, and all we
“My whole life has turned around / I
was lost, but now I'm found / A baby
changes everything, yeah / A baby
changes everything”
Dear friends in Christ, that Baby has
done that for me. My life has been
(Continued on page 6)
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
(Continued from page 5)
turned about. I once was lost, but now
I’m found. A complete transformation
made possible through
that Baby
born at
And that’s
how our
theme became A
It reflects the reality of what we believe as Lutheran Christians. Through
the Christ Child we can have a restored relationship with God, now
and for all eternity. Yet in Epiphany
the theme is extended. That Baby is to
so change us that, through us, others
might be brought to Him.
Yes, Epiphany is about mission. It’s
about Gentiles coming to worship the
Christ Child. It’s about you and me,
today, coming to worship the Christ
A Report on Pilgrim’s
Christmas Decorating
On Saturday, December 6th, Pilgrim
volunteers gathered to decorate the
sanctuary for the Advent and Christmas seasons. It seemed that we had
experienced an invasion of Elves as
Child. It’s about you and I living out
our Christian faith lives in such a way
that others come to see this Baby as
The old familiar Christmas carols are
truly wonderful. But, sometimes,
something new comes along that captures something that just needs to be
said. I commend this song to you. Listen to it. Pray over it. And be moved
by it.
“My whole life has turned around / I
was lost, but now I’m found / A baby
changes everything, yeah / A baby
changes everything.”
That change starts in your heart. It
spreads out through your hands and
arms to the world which that Baby
was born to redeem. Here during
Epiphany be sure to consider how this
Baby has changed you. And, being so
changed, may you be led to share Him
with others, too. May that tune be
lived out in our hearts, lives, and actions.
Regards, in Christ,
PJKreft T
Pilgrim News
Pam Solomon
we began unloading the boxes of
decorations and the complex pieces
required for our tree. There were people at meetings, the Pilgrim and Ger(Continued on page 7)
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
(Continued from page 6)
man congregation children each rehearsing their Christmas programs
and our own volunteers swarming
through the building. Good fellowship and cooperation prevailed better
than you might have guessed as each
group pursued its goals.
As we unwrapped dozens of Chrismons to place on the tree I was struck
by the beauty and symbolism of each
one, and thought of the careful hands
that had made them so many years
ago. Again, as we loaded the shelf to
hold the lovely porcelain nativity
scene, the workmanship of someone
thoughtful had allowed this piece to
fit perfectly into our latticed wall in
the Narthex.
Over and over throughout the morning we found instances of cleverly designed tools
and solutions
for installing
the decorations, each reflecting the
love and devotion of Pilgrims past and
present. We
are so blessed
by God's gifted
people working together in
this place.
Our sanctuary
looks beautiful, thanks to
many hands, including Janis Larsen who prepared the wreaths and
left them waiting for us; Michael
Boerger, who knows where every
last box is buried in the building;
Sean Solomon, John Weihrauch
and Todd Baldwin, who risked life
and limb at the top of impossibly tall
ladders to install, decorate, and hang
things; Bob Plitt for designing and
fabricating the silhouettes at the back
of the sanctuary, as well as help with
technical details; Nellie Plitt, Joan
Lewicke, Laura Weihrauch, and
Robin Baldwin, who carefully unpacked and hung each ornament on
the tree; Nate Weihrauch, who
hung low-hanging Chrismons and
crawled behind the rail and under the
tree to retrieve fallen ornaments
where no grown-up could have gone.
Nellie and I put the nativity scene
together, and all we can say is that if
Gwen Utecht, who always did this
task before her recent move comes to
visit, she may find a few misplaced
animals and shepherds, but we did
our best. We miss her, and all of those
others who have passed through our
midst and left the enduring heritage
of work well done. T
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
In Memory of Walter
On December 7th, 2008, the Lord
called former member Walter Durr
to his Heavenly Home after a long illness. The Durrs were living in North
Carolina at the time of Walt’s illness
and death.
Walt served in many
capacities at Pilgrim Lutheran. He
was Congregation
in 1985
and 1986.
In Memory of Madeline
DeLoach Franklin
note: the
appeared in
our funeral
service. It
has been
edited for
space considerations.
Madeline DeLoach Franklin was
born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on
January 17th, 1914. She was called to
her heavenly home on December 21st,
2008, passing quietly, surrounded by
her children and grandchildren.
When she was three, her family
moved to Philadelphia, where her
parents founded St. Philip’s Lutheran
Church. It was music and playing the
piano for which Madeline displayed
an extraordinary life-long talent. She
Pilgrim People
Nellie K. Plitt
He later served on the Board of Elders. He chaired the Board in 1994.
Walt will be remembered for his
smile, cheerful disposition, and willingness to help out.
Our love and sympathy go to Lois,
Lorraine, Jennifer, Jeff, family
and friends.
Walt will be buried on Thursday,
February 5th at 9:00 AM at Arlington
National Cemetery. Mourners must
be there by 8:30 AM. We’ll provide
you with more details as they become
available. T
Pilgrim People
From the Obituary
graduated from the Philadelphia Girls
High School and then received a B.A.
in music Dillard University. One of
her first teaching jobs was in Pass
Christian, Mississippi, where she
taught the high school choir many of
the Lutheran chorales she loved.
That same year she met Dr. Charles L.
Franklin. They met again when Madeline moved to Washington, D.C., to
support the war effort. They were
(Continued on page 9)
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
(Continued from page 8)
married on May 24th, 1943 in St. Philips Lutheran Church, in Philadelphia.
Madeline worked at the Census Bureau and the Office of Price Administration as a business economist.
After raising her family, Madeline resumed her career as an educator in
1956 in a poorer area of Washington,
D.C., for twenty years.
After retiring, Madeline supported
cultural and charitable institutions as
well as travelled extensively. Some
special moments included meeting
President Kennedy at his birthday
party and being escorted by President
Clinton during “Hail
to the Chief” during
her son’s wedding reception.
Madeline was devoted
to her church. At Pilgrim, she played piano
for the Senior Lunch-
Like to Travel?
Do you like to travel, explore new areas, meet new people, and serve the
community? Here is a golden opportunity for you.
Meals-On-Wheels delivers food to
shut-ins throughout our local area
every weekday except holidays. Pilgrim people have been assigned to
one route (Route 7) in the Rockville
eon. Before joining Pilgrim, she
was a long
of Mount
Olivet Lutheran
where she
served as the substitute organist and
interim organist for a year.
An accomplished pianist, in 2003, she
completed a compact disc, Madeline
Franklin Plays the Classics.
Madeline was predeceased by
Charles, her loving husband of 53
years. She is survived by three children: Charles L. Franklin, Jr., Dolores
Mercedes Franklin, and Estelle Diane
Franklin; four grandchildren; two
grandchildren; and a host of other
family members and friends. T
Service Opportunity
Nellie K. Plitt
area on Fridays. This means two people deliver each Friday—one drives
and one carries food to the door.
We need to build up our list of substitutes to cover in case a volunteer cannot work on a specified day. Join us
as a volunteer for Meals-On-Wheels.
Contact Bob Plitt at 301-229-5216 if
interested. T
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
Did you know that...
… Walt Bauman, Sam & Winnie
Morch, Pam Solomon, and
Dan Bella helped with the
mailing of the December
issue of Pilgrim’s Progress?
… the Senior
luncheon program will not meet this
month as Cindy Kreft continues to struggle with health issues. She looks forward to offering
the program in the future.
January Birthdays & Anniversaries
January Birthdays
1st ............ Kimberly Frank
4th ............... Fran Redman
4th . Dorothea Weihrauch
5th ................... Kim Christy
6th ................. Amy Mueller
8th ........................... Alicia Hatcher
8th ..................... Mike Pampillonia
8th .......................... Marilyn Regier
13th .............................. James Kreft
14th ......................... Robin Baldwin
16th .................................. Micki Nau
21st ........................ Patrick Hollrah
21st ........................... Kirsten Lyons
21st ............................Darrel Regier
What’s Going
On / Pilgrim’s
Progress Staff
… Marie Elsberry will now live in
Maine and Bethesda. For the next
three months her address is: 9
Alumni Court, Orono, ME 03373,
phone: 207-866-2668.
… former member Richard Miles is
serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Karbala province,
Iraq? You can read his blog at
… Ginny Davis will step down as
Chair of Christian Education as of the
end of 2008 Thank you for your service, Ginny. T
Pilgrim People
Shepherd’s Staff
25th .......................... Jenny Hollrah
28th ............................. Gwen Utecht
31st ............................. Norm Larsen
January Anniversaries
16th .............. James & Cindy Kreft
26th ................ Norm & Jan Larson
28th ............ Lance & Judy Graef T
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
Pilgrim People
Here are the stories behind the pictures on page 12 and from throughout
this newsletter.
Top left: Madeline Drefke and
Kathryn Keiser playing around before the start of a Sunday School
Christmas Program practice in early
December 2008.
Middle left: Hannah
Weihrauch, Rachel
Keiser, and Kevin
Hatcher during a Sunday
School Christmas Program
practice in early December
This Still, Silent Night at December’s
Music at Pilgrim concert.
Other people pictured in this month’s
newsletter include the following:
Page 1: Drew Nail, Charlie
Hatcher, and John Weihrauch as
the Magi in the 2005 Children’s
Christmas Program. The manger
scene, with Magi, from Pilgrim’s entryway
Page 3: Jack Nail as a shepherd
from 2005’s Sunday School Christmas program.
Page 4: Greta Drefke as an angel.
Lower left: Amy Pearsall sings
“Breath of Heaven” at the Music at
Pilgrim concert on December 19th.
Page 5: Matt, Gibson, and Julie
McFarland at Gibson’s memorable
Bottom left: Pilgrim’s Senior Choir
and director Michael Rossi performing Schubert’s Mass in F at the
Music at December's Pilgrim concert.
Page 6: Hannah Weihrauch as
Mary at the 2005 Children’s Christmas program.
Top right: Kirsten Lyons, Madeline Drefke, Caroline Hatcher,
and Michael Summerville singing
during the Sunday School Christmas
Program in December.
Middle right: Sunday School children
practice Angels We Have Heard in
High for the Sunday School Christmas Program.
Bottom right: Pilgrim/s Junior Choir,
directed by Michael Rossi, sings On
Progress Staff
Page 7: Sean Solomon puts together Pilgrim's Christmas tree. Bottom left: Nate Weihrauch up on
Todd Baldwin’s shoulders to help
out with decorating the tree. Top
right: Michael Boerger up on a ladder putting up Christmas de orations.
Page 9, bottom left: Madeline
Franklin at a recent Senior Luncheon. Top right: the Franklin family
when the children were much
younger. T
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009
Pilgrim People
For the names and stories behind the pictures, please see page 11.
Pilgrim’s Progress / January 2009